Guest contribution by Eric Worrall
According to The Guardian, packing people into cities like sardines will help save the world from climate change. But even progressives hesitate to support this latest climate initiative.
Denser cities could be a climate blessing – but nimbyism stands in the way
Moving people to cities could reduce emissions and fight housing crises. But even progressives are hard to convince
In San Francisco’s Sunset District, rows and rows of pastel-colored, two-story houses flow from the edge of Golden Gate Park into the sand dunes of Ocean Beach. Many houses here have solar panels on the roofs and compost bins at the driveways, flanked by hybrid and electric cars.
But here – and everywhere in this city – an important solution to both the housing and the climate crisis is facing fierce opposition: building more.
Climate scientists and urban planners are increasingly suggesting that one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to make cities denser. This change, scientists have calculated, is even more effective than installing solar panels in all new buildings or retrofitting old buildings with energy-saving technologies. The residents of cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Minneapolis already have a much smaller carbon footprint than the surrounding suburbs. City dwellers usually have smaller apartments that require less energy for heating and cooling.
But it also means that a certain American lifestyle may have to end.
Nationally, Joe Biden has called for a “historic investment” in affordable housing, with his government urging cities to amend zoning laws to increase density and limit single-family housing developments, as well as dismantling highways that have separated communities, typically color communities, and added to air pollution.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/22/cities-climate-change-dense-sprawl-yimby-nimby
Is it just me, or does anyone else think that some climate activists pretend they hate the idea of face-to-face contact with nature? At least with suburbs, houses with backyards, there is space for children to play on lawns, maybe plant a few fruit trees between the houses to share the space with the local wildlife. High density housing not so much.